Concrete spalling or flaking is one of the most common challenges people experience when concreting. Understanding the causes of spalling and how to prevent it helps in building a crack-free hardscape. Below are concreting tips to help you prevent spalling when building your outdoors hardscape.

Proper Concrete Mixing

Failure to maintain the right consistency of the concrete mix is one major cause of spalling. So make sure you follow the instructions on the concrete materials to the letter. Otherwise, if you don't have confidence in your mixing skills, it's better to buy ready mix concrete from a professional building supplies provider as it's less cumbersome to use than when preparing your own mixture from scratch.

Keep the concrete mixture as dry as possible because overly high water content in the mixture is the main trigger of spalling.  You may want to start mixing your concrete by adding minimal amounts of water and gradually increase the water until you achieve the concrete consistency that's recommended. Using a good cement mixer or paddle mixer to do the job is highly advisable.

Water Proof Sealing

Absorption of excess water in the concrete significantly accelerates spalling. Applying a concrete sealant on the surface of the concrete slab protects the surface and prevents water absorption. You should apply the concrete sealant about 28 days after the placement of the concrete slab.

It's also advisable that you reapply the sealant every two years after the first application. Reapplication of the sealant helps protect the slab from weather conditions that trigger expansion and contraction of the slab in a way that can trigger spalling later.

Timely Surface Finishing

Finishing the concrete surface too early is one key mistake that triggers spalling. It's critical that you give the fresh concrete slab enough time to dry up. Remember that the weather condition will affect how fast the slab dries, so if it's cold, you may want to give the slab more time to dry up.

You should make sure that the bleeding water from the wet concrete dries up completely before you can start off the finishing process. So keep observing the surface until the sheen caused by the bleeding water is no longer present. Otherwise, you may want to hire a professional to check whether the slab is adequately dry.

Concrete spalling is a common problem that is likely to damage your hardscape preparation. You may want to use the tips provided above to avoid common causes of concrete spalling.